Christina Dodd’s Killer Carnival Popcorn Balls


         The party started when circus music blared from Joe and Rowan’s room speaker.

            Rowan sat straight up in bed.

            A high, scary laugh pierced the air, and a clown voice screeched, “The parade starts at ten! Be early for the best viewing for Gregory Torval’s birthday circus! Be there or be square!”

            Rowan looked over at Joe, naked, face-down and unmoving. She leaned over and spoke in his ear. “Is your pistol loaded?”

            He didn’t open his eyes. “Yes. Why?”

            “Because I want to shoot that clown.” She thought for a second. “No, first I want to shoot the speaker and then the clown.”

            “His funeral procession would be very short.”

            “What?” She was confused. “How so?”

            “All his clown friends would come in one tiny car.” 😂 EVERY SINGLE SECRET, a full-length suspense by New York Times bestseller Christina Dodd

EVERY SINGLE SECRET Killer Carnival Popcorn Balls 


  • 6 quarts popcorn/ ¾ cup kernels popped. I use air popped. That allows me the delusion of eating healthy foods. 😁 But also, air popped caramel corn is lighter, less greasy. I really prefer it.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Corn Syrup/light or dark
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 cup chopped nuts, any kind you prefer. No nuts is perfectly fine, too.
  • Popcorn ball maker (Yes, it’s a thing) or in place of that, plastic bags or gloves sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Gruesome killer sprinkles — because it’s Gregory Torval’s birthday party/circus, and Gregory Torval is a drug and arms dealer, responsible for so many deaths and losses for Rowan and many, many others.
  • Pretty carnival-colored sprinkles, because sensitive people (ie: those who are out of their teens) object to tombstones in their popcorn balls.


Spray large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Lift the popcorn with your hands to transfer it in the roasting pan; that allows the unpopped kernels to fall out and no one will break their teeth. I also do a scan along the bottom of the pan to make sure I’ve removed them all. Place roasting pan with popcorn in 250°F oven while preparing glaze.

 Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.

 Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING. Off the heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla and mix well. It’s going to foam. Don’t freak out, that’s supposed to happen. Pour syrup over warm popcorn mixture, stirring to coat well. Add chopped nuts (if using) and stir again. Let it cool until you’re able to safely handle it.

Using the popcorn ball maker or plastic bags/ gloves on your hands, take approximately a cup and a half of well-coated popcorn and compress it into a ball. Press it hard. Place balls on a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil on a baking sheet and place in the 250 oven for 45 minutes, turning them occasionally. If one falls apart, pull it out, let it cool and press it together again.

When the baking time is up, pull them out and decorate them with eyeballs, bloody bones and tombstones. 😳  Or pretty shiny carnival colored sprinkles. Store in air-tight covered container for up to a week. Eat while enjoying the taut suspense of EVERY SINGLE SECRET.

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “nerve-shredding, edge-of-your-seat suspense” with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist,) and much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. For more recipes, see her food and wine pairings and while you’re exploring, please accept Christina’s invitation to enjoy her newsy, funny, book-centric mailings (yes, she is the proud author with the infamous three-armed cover) and click through to her all new website for her Daughter of Montague historical fiction series.